Thursday, June 2, 2016

Paxton Criminal Appeal Rejected

The Dallas-based 5th Court of Appeals refused to toss the three felony-fraud indictments hanging over the head of Attorney General Ken Paxton.  The June 1 ruling was authored by Chief Justice Carolyn Wright.  Paxton's spokesperson said they are considering an appeal of the ruling before the state's highest criminal court.  Along with the state charges Paxton also faces federal fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The 5th Court of Appeals ruling is linked here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

TPJ Statement on Paxton Appeal Hearing

Statement of Andrew Wheat, TPJ Research Director:

"In asking Republican appeals judges to dismiss his criminal charges without a trial, Paxton invokes those recent precedents of Republican appellate judges dismissing corruption cases against their party’s leaders.  Let's hope these judges can exercise some judicial restraint and allow these felony charges to be tried in an open court."

Monday, May 2, 2016

Are Big Donors Abandoning Attorney General Ken Paxton?

 By TPJ's Andrew Wheat, Texas Observer, April 29, 2016

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s prodigious political fundraising plummeted after his criminal indictments in the summer of 2015. This could suggest that some donors are quietly rethinking their support of the embroiled attorney general, even as top GOP leaders have refrained from commenting on the plight of Paxton — a headliner at the Texas GOP Convention that opens in Dallas in May. (Read more).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lobby Watch: Socialized Medicine for GOP Functionary

The top Paxton aide who secretly arranged to stay on the state payroll while running a Cruz PAC spent recent years fighting the twin evils of Obamacare and his own cancer.  It takes a special kind of person to simultaneously struggle to secure taxpayer-funded health benefits for himself while fighting to deny such benefits to millions of others.

Monday, April 11, 2016

SEC files federal fraud charges against AG Paxton

Statement by Craig McDonald -

"It is now Attorney General Paxton's full-time job to defend himself from an avalanche of serious civil and criminal charges. Texas needs an attorney general who can aggressively pursue wrongdoing--not just defend himself from it. Paxton's greatest service to this state would be his resignation."
From the Houston Chronicle:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday filed civil charges in federal court against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleging that he recruited investors for a company without disclosing that he was being compensated to promote the company's stock.

The charges, which were filed in a Sherman-based court, allege that Paxton raised $840,000 in investor funds for Servergy, Inc., and received 100,000 shares of stock in return.

Charges were also filed against Servergy and former company officials William E. Mapp III and Caleb White. As of Monday, Servergy and White had settled their cases, according to the SEC.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Complaints Filed Against Toll Road Directors Over Non-disclosures

TPJ filed formal complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission today alleging that three directors of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), the agency building toll roads throughout the region, appear to have violated state financial disclosure laws.  Texas Secretary of State business filings and local property records suggest that CTRMA Chair Ray Wilkerson, Vice Chair James Mills and Director Charles Heimsath have failed to disclose certain business interests in their most recent disclosures.

Read the full media release.
Wilkerson TEC Complaint.
Mills TEC Complaint.
Heimsath TEC Complaint.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lobby Watch: Abbott Mega-Donor's Oncor Deal

Texas Public Utility Commissioners are vetting a controversial $17 billion tax-shelter plan to take over Oncor Electric. The commissioners have two gubernatorial constituents to consider in the case. Ex-Gov. Perry, who appointed them, has blasted the proposal. Gov. Abbott, who reappointed the chair, has not taken a public position on the deal to benefit one of his top contributors.

The $550,000 that Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt has given Abbott just since he announced his gubernatorial bid far outstrips what Hunt gave Perry throughout Perry's 13-year gubernatorial reign.
Follow the Hunt-Abbott money trail in Lobby Watch.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Statement on Court Ruling on Perry Case

Statement by TPJ Director Craig McDonald -

"A highly partisan court has handed Rick Perry a gift. This decision is based on who Perry is rather than what he did. This pre-trial ruling ensures that prosecutors never get an opportunity to present the evidence that makes their case in an open courtroom."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Record $159 Million in Texas PAC Spending in 2014 Cycle

An unrivalled 1,421 general purpose political committees spent a record $159 million in the 2014 election cycle, according to a new edition of TPJ’s biennial “Texas PACs” report. The 31-page report analyzes PAC spending by major economic and ideological interest groups. It also includes sections on dark money, new PACs, fast-growth PACs, shrinking PACs, extinct PACs and the specific-purpose PACs that promoted ballot initiatives for water and road projects. The appendix ranks the 262 top PACs that spent more than $100,000 apiece. 

Read the media release and the full Texas PACs report.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ethics Opinion May Allow Paxton to Use Donations for Legal Bills

The Texas Ethics Commission is considering the adoption of a legal opinion clearing the way for indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton to use unlimited donations to pay for his criminal defense.

Read our talking points.
Read background article from the Houston Chronicle.